Over the years the Fashion Industry has evolved many folds reviving various lost crafts and heritage textiles. But one region that the spotlight always missed is the North Eastern Region.
Most fashion enthusiasts only have a vague notion of the dress codes of the seven states. In an attempt to put the seven sisters back on the fashion map, and showcase the crafts and textiles of North East India, Lakme Fashion Week Summer/Resort hosted North East Mojo which was a special showcase of the designers from North East.
From breast cloths worn by tribal women in Tripura to the nettle weaves worn in Sikkim, these designers highlighted how traditional fabrics and techniques have adapted to new technologies and markets.
Here are 5 North Eastern Designers out in the market that everyone needs to look out for!
Aratrik Dev Varman, Tripura
Aratrik Dev Varman is known for using elements from his home state in his designs for his label, Tilla. His choice of fabric was the Riah, a long, narrow breast cloth worn by many tribes in Tripura. He combined the Reang community’s Riahs – recognised by their red, black, and white stripes with fine Tripuri cotton to create flowing dresses and separates. The breast cloth served as drapes, belts and turbans and the ensembles were accessorised with coin jewellery sourced from tribes.
Richana Khumanthem, Manipur
Drawing from the subtle colours used by the Meitei community, Khumanthem themed her collection around the ShamiLanmi pattern, which is made up of a series of animal- and tribal-inspired embroidery on a black background. In combining heritage weaves with modern silhouettes, Khumanthem hopes to respond to the challenge of reaching consumers beyond the state.
Daniel Syiem, Meghalaya
Daniel Syiem has constantly referenced Meghalayan textiles and garments in his designs. His new collection, ShaKiLum, is a contemporary showcase of Eri silk, known as Ryndia which is produced by domesticated silkworms and considered one of the most sustainable variants of silk. Syiem believes that like visual and performing arts, fashion too is a means of disseminating knowledge about culture.
Karma Sonam, Sikkim
Inspired by the layered garments of Sikkim’s Bhutia tribe, the Gangtok-based designer’s LFW collection exhibited deconstructed jackets and vests, anti-fit culottes, and dresses with ruffled hemlines, using the Lepcha community’s loin loom weaves, one of the state’s oldest indigenous textiles traditionally used to make women’s coats. The Lepcha weaves were traditionally created from nettle yarn but is now made with cotton.
Jenjum Gadi, Arunachal Pradesh/Nagaland
For the summer/resort season, Jenjum Gadi chose to work with Nagaland’s loin loom weaves, which are produced using a non-mechanical technique, in which the fabric is woven on a bamboo loom strapped around the weaver’s lower back. His goal is firmly set on working with more weavers and textiles from the North East, as he believes that fashion has opened new avenues for people in that region!
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